You may recall I had my annual mammogram early in September and was told the results would be received in about three weeks.
Well, 22 days later I got a letter calling me back.
The bottom dropped out of my world, the letter shook in my hand, and fear raised its head, especially as I had insisted on an appointment way back in March as I was concerned with twinges and heaviness, and assured all was normal.
I tried to read what was written, blurred words about not wishing to cause alarm (they weren’t sitting where I was, and I was sitting by now) and I got straight on the phone.
They could not tell me anything other than there was a significant change from the pictures taken last year and they wanted to see me for an examination and more tests.
My appointment was for October 1st, but we had other things arranged, and the next available appointment wasn’t until the 8th. My nerves wouldn’t take that long a delay, so I explained how far away we were and asked if there was any remote chance they could fit me in the following day. We could be there any time they had free. They promised to call me back as I was an emotional mess by now.
The phone rang some ten minutes later. I answered and put them on to Hubby as I couldn’t talk. They had pulled strings and an appointment was given for the next day at 2pm.
We phoned MSM and asked if she could put us up. Like the trooper and dear friend she is, she didn’t hesitate. We packed an overnight bag and set off at 5.15pm for the 170 mile trip. It took us 3 and a half hours, so we made good time despite lousy traffic and getting stuck behind an HGV we couldn’t overtake anywhere.
We both had a restless night. My Mum came to me in my dreams by way of writing me a letter of all things and in it told me not to worry. I slept a little.
Next day, we were at the clinic a good half hour early. I was seen within 15 minutes and another set of mammogram images were taken of the right breast where I had my surgery three years ago.
I had the A team, but then they are all A teams, and absolutely wonderful. I was able to laugh and joke with the radiologist who told me it was NOT a lump, but calcified tissue of about 8mm including a ‘tail’ and they wanted to investigate further. It was probably nothing, but they were taking no chances in case it was something that could develop into something else and if so, would have to come out.
First thing was an ultrasound and she could see a lot, including where the first core biopsy had been taken and missed in 2016 which is why I had to have a second, but to play safe, wanted to do a deep core biopsy. As the ultrasound imagery wasn’t really adequate for taking the samples she needed, they used X-rays for guidance. I said there was no way my boob would fit in their little plastic box, and laughing she said it was used to frame the site for sample taking. So it was more manipulation and squashing to the plates, then I was given a local anesthetic and away she went with her popping core tool.
I honestly didn’t feel a thing, and she was able to get some excellent samples for testing, results of which will take about ten days.
My right boob is now worth a fortune as they put in a small titanium marker where they’d taken the samples from which is perfectly safe to leave in if I don’t need additional surgery.
I have been given a provisional appointment to see my Consultant Surgeon from 2016 (one of the best in the country) to discuss the results and where we go from there, so once confirmed, it means another trip and MSM is helping us out again with accommodation, bless her. We are so lucky to have such wonderful people in our corner.
We stayed an extra night as it was recommended I didn’t drive, but I did feel less stressed because I knew I was in good hands as Cheltenham is one of the Centres of Excellence for Breast Cancer. The wound was dressed and totally numb, though I could expect bruising and localised pain as the anesthetic wore off for which I could take paracetamol if needed. So far, I’ve been fine.
Hubby was beside himself with worry but feels reassured now and like last time, we are in this together and I won’t be facing it alone. The professionalism of everyone concerned has been excellent, everything has been explained in words we can understand and any questions answered without frills, fussiness, or fancy jargon.
The relief that it’s not another lump and the meds I’m taking couldn’t let one develop anyway, is off the charts. However, it’s not over yet and once again we wait.
I’m posting this as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I can only emphasise the importance of getting any lump checked out, in the breast or otherwise actually. Not all lumps mean cancer, but if it is, it can be treated and cured.
Don’t put it off, make a phone call and insist on an appointment.
My personal story is that if I hadn’t lost the weight in 2016 having been put forward for free membership with SW for 12 weeks, we would not have found Humphrey so early, I would not have been treated so quickly (discovery to surgery in 6 weeks), and it could have been a different story.